Monthly Archives: November 2013

Why The “Stay” Command is Completely Unnecessary: Northern Virginia Dog Trainers

dog training in northern virginia

Everyday at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, I find myself saying, “Stay is an amateur dog training command.”

As you can see in our 400+ videos on our YouTube Channel, we never use the “stay” command; however, the dogs do not budge despite us running around them, cars driving around them, dogs walking around them, etc.   This is because we train the dogs “properly;” meaning, when we train our dogs, we teach them that when they are given a command, they do not move until they are released from that command (we use the word “break”).

When people are using the stay command, I often times see/hear them essentially giving 20+ commands in order to achieve an extended sit or down.  An average scenario is, the owner (or trainer) tells the dog to “sit,” as they walk away, you hear them saying, “stay..stay….stay…stay….stay..”  So, essentially, you just gave your dog 7 commands in order to get them to sit and not move until being released.

So, if you tell your dog to sit, just walk away, if they get up, put them back in the sit.  As soon as they wait for a few seconds, say “break” and then play with them.  As they get the concept better, leave them there long, get further away, etc.

Essentially the dog learns, “If I get up before I hear the word break, you just put me right back into the same command.”  So, by doing this, they teach themselves to “stay there” until they hear the word “break.”

Introducing 2 Dogs On A Leash: Dog Leash Training, Northern Virginia

dogs on a leash northern virginia

At our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, one of the situations we have to address on a daily basis is dogs properly greeting another dog.

In order to do a proper introduction, there are some key elements that should be adhered to:

First: Before you let the dogs approach, do NOT assume the other dog is friendly with dogs (or people).  This sounds like common sense, right? You would be surprised.  We train over 65 dogs per week at our facility, many of the dogs are coming to us because of dog aggression, people aggression, etc  We always warn the people leaving, “Do not go up to this dog coming in or let your dog go up to him.”  People see a Golden Retriever, Lab, etc and just automatically “assume” that it’s friendly.  Always ask!

Second: If the owner does give the approval, both of you should do a controlled approach to the each other’s dog. Do NOT just the dogs drag you to each other, remember, you need to show your dog that “you” are in control of the situation.  Put them in a heel and stop them (and make them sit) just a couple feet from each other.  If you are not able to do this drill, then first you must address your dog’s obedience training.

Third: “Break” (release) your dogs and let them start to sniff each other, you should try to keep minimal to zero tension on the leash.  If they feel tension on the leash, this could actually add tension and stress to the dog and make the situation worse.

Fourth: Watch BOTH dogs’ body language!  You should be looking for any aggressive signs from either dog.  You can read about this in detail in my blog on “Dog’s Body Language.”

Fifth: Try to keep the dogs moving a little and slowly around each other. Again, stiffness in dogs can be because of tension or stress.  So, try to keep them moving a little bit, also, this ensures that there is no tension on the leash.

Sixth: I always recommend “one-on-one” approaches with other dogs.  I would never let 3, 4, or 5 dogs meet all at once.  It would almost be impossible for you to control this situation.  You would almost have a “dog park” scenario with multiple dogs, and you can read the blog to see why I think dog parks are a horrible idea.

I Need To Correct My Dog’s Behavior:Northern Virginia Dog Trainers

Aggressive Dog Training Northern Virginia

On a daily basis, we hear, “I need to correct my dog’s bad behavior.” If you look at our YouTube Channel you will see literally hundreds of dogs performing flawless obedience.

People contact us daily and say things like, “Your obedience training looks really amazing; however, I just really need to correct my dog’s (insert any behavior issue here). So, can we just work on this or fix this, I don’t care that much about the obedience stuff.”

I always tell people, “I have never in my life seen a dog that was amazing in obedience that had a lot of behavioral issues.” So, they completely go hand-in-hand. Doing a structured obedience training program with your dog will naturally fix many issues; additionally, your trainer can show you how to fix those specific issues while doing the obedience.

Additionally, when using a balanced approach of training (e-collar, prong collar, chock, etc), I am a HUGE advocate against using any of these devices just to “correct” a behavior. This is NOT the proper way to use any of these training tools. By doing this, your dog learns to associate the training device as strictly a punishment, and they will grow to hate/fear it. The dog should learn that these are training tools which gives them freedom, confidence, and a balanced approach of training. They should not learn that they are strictly used for a punishment/correction; unfortunately, this is how many people improperly use these training devices.

So, do not approach training in order to try to correct a specific behavior, you should approach training in order to have a well rounded, confident, happy, and obedient dog. I talk about this more in-depth in my blog post on “Do no make training a last resort.”

At our dog training in Northern Virginia, people find out on a daily basis that our obedience program naturally fixes their dog’s issues; however, we can also address specific issues while doing our dog training program.